Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Reality Sets In: Vastly Outnumbered House R's Feel The Boot On Their Necks And Their Pain Is Audible; Why It Could Last A Very Long Time, Plus: MLG Impeachment Petition Circulates  

Rep. Kelly Fajardo
Payback time in Santa Fe and it's not pretty but it is painful--for the beleaguered state House Republicans. Here are the takeaways:

--The party is over for the Republican Party. That realization is nothing profound, but on Election Night it was theoretical, today it is practical, with the state House Dems rolling over the R's with progressive legislation that is shocking their socks off.

--From abortion to gun control to spending, the dominant Dems (46-24) are putting forth very liberal bills reflecting the huge political shift in state politics toward the cities of ABQ, Santa Fe and Las Cruces and away from the shrinking rural counties that are the bedrock of GOP support.

--The cries from the House R's about the Dem's being "unfair" or "uncivil" are falling on deaf years after eight years of Republican Governor Martinez and her political machine who ran roughshod over the Dems. The R's have a point about Dems steamrolling them but they lost the moral high ground when they sheepishly fell in line behind their own vindictive Governor. The steamroller is just getting started.

--Once rising stars like Valencia County GOP State Rep. Kelly Fajardo are apoplectic at the turn of events. Perhaps that's because even analysts in her own party think it could be at least until 2032 until the R's make a state House comeback. That is crushing news for her and any other R who harbors political ambitions. Here's Fajardo lamenting the Dems treatment toward the House R's and here's more takeaways on our subject du jour:

--Legislative redistricting in 2021 will be done by commanding Dem House and Senate majorities and under a Dem Governor. In the last redistricting in 2011 the R's had one of their own on the Fourth Floor and more legislative manpower. Their redistricting bill led to a brief, historic two year Republican takeover of the House. That redistricting outcome is not going to repeat in two years, potentially putting the House R's in the legislative desert for years to come.

--However, there is some hope for the minority party. BernCo Dem NE Heights representatives like Melanie Stansbury, Abbas Akhil and Bill Pratt, liberals who stunned the political world by beating incumbent R's in the Dem wave of '18, could overreach and be sent packing. That would restore a bit of the voice the R's have lost in the House, but not much.

--As legislative expert and former Republican state Senator Rod Adair is fond of saying,  "Demographics are destiny." Those demographics here are trending more Hispanic, more Democrat and less Anglo and less conservative. Cutting taxes and regulations--still the boilerplate of the GOP platform--is not going to win those voters back. They need a new bag of tricks but are resistant.

--New GOP chairman and former Congressman Steve Pearce is polished, articulate and knows how to go for the jugular. The problem? The cities don't and won't listen to Pearce who lost them to MLG by landslide margins. R's may want to look at someone like former ABQ GOP State Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes--a woman and minority face--to serve as some kind of co-chair or spokesman to deal with the cities and use Pearce to woo the conservative rural south.


--History says the governorship is still a swing seat, with Democratic corruption and/or overreach on the issues the possible path back to the Fourth Floor someday. R's are not elected Governor in New Mexico based on their platforms, but in reaction to the errant actions of Democratic incumbents, especially on the corruption front.

--House R's can bellow, bellyache and bemoan the Democratic House's near super majority but they can't change it anytime soon. Their time in the cold, lonely wilderness has just begun. If it persists, in a few years you will see a more meek and accepting GOP attitude take hold. That would be similar to the state Senate where the R's toil as a permanent minority. However, they have been able to coalesce with some conservative Dems to give them a voice in state power. In the state House conservative Dems are an endangered species. The R's there are on their own and that will be brutal.

--Another R problem: MLG can thwart the most ultra-liberal policies before they reach her desk and avoid having moderate Dems and independents bleed off to the R's. So all the gnashing of teeth over what the R's see as the radical abortion and gun control bills could be for naught. They are unlikely to pass in their ultra liberal forms. (Although MLG on guns is no moderate).

--It's true the House Dems are further alienating the 43 percent of the voters who went for Republican Pearce in the Guv race, but the Dems are not losing their broad support in the cities. And, as we said above, in the 21st century the story of New Mexican politics is the battle over the expanding urban battlefield. Until the GOP can pick that lock Rep. Fajardo's Santa Fe karaoke parties are going to be about as lively as a funeral.


This didn't take long:

The Governor's decision to withdraw National Guard troops from New Mexico's southern border  is now getting calls for her impeachment. A Ruidoso man has started a petition asking state lawmakers to begin the process to remove her from office. In just four days, this petition has seen over 26,000 people sign it. The petition on Change.org was created by John Daniel from Ruidoso. He's asking the state's House of Representatives to begin the impeachment process.

She won't be impeached but maybe Chairman Pearce can raise some money for his financially needy party from some of those 26,000 (as of last night) who signed the impeachment petition. Meanwhile, don't worry, Democrats, Lt. Governor Howie Morales is standing by.

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